Mobile phone service provider Cosmote, a part of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) group, on Wednesday said that it was preparing an unusually generous severance package for the 120 staff that are to be laid-off when the company undergoes restructuring and sheds some of its operations.

Cosmote's management said the scheme envisaged compensation higher than the legal minimum for laid-off staff, which would take into account their age, family situation, past performance, and continued provision of benefits such as health plans and daycare costs for a reasonable space of time. The company also stressed that it will not make use of the right given under new labour laws to dismiss up to 30 employees a month.

Sources within the company said that the staff laid off will receive 3.2 times the legal compensation, on average, receiving between 13 and 27 gross monthly wages in addition to the legal compensation. The number of additional wages will be calculated based on their age, marital status, children, whether they are a single-parent family and job performance.

Cosmote's group employed more than 9,000 staff at the end of 2010, of which 3,500 were based in Greece and the remainder in Balkan countries where it is active. The economic crisis caused a dip of 1.1 billion euro in its revenues on the Greek market in the past two years and reduced the company's profits by 10 percent in 2010, with a similar reduction in its EBITDA.

The OTE group union OME-OTE has announced a 24-hour strike by all OTE staff on Friday in response to the lay-offs and will hold a meeting to decide further action next Tuesday.